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  1. 3 points
    Trip: Idaho - Heart of Diamond, Milwaukee's Best Trip Date: 09/15/2022 Trip Report: I've spent chunks of the last two Septembers helping some friends scrub, trundle, and bolt on a unique 800 foot granite wall on a subsummit of Storm Mountain, north of McCall, Idaho. At least for the time being, we're finished, and would love for folks to get on the two resulting routes to get some traffic and confirm grades -- everything about them is geared to optimize the experience of subsequent ascents. The wall has an extraordinarily consistent angle at just under vertical, and is littered with overlaps, layback flakes, and small roofs, which together create routes that are extremely sustained and with varied and high quality movement. It's just the right angle, and has just enough edges and dikes, that it is almost never slabby, and also almost never requires cranking on micro edges. While covered in cracks, many of them are too shallow, flaring, or fragile for bomber gear (but are great for climbing), resulting in routes with around a third natural protection and two thirds bolts. It also tends to excellent free climbing conditions, facing northeast (so warms up quickly before going in the shade) at around 8000 feet in a relatively dry range. Last year started by pushing a route ground up, since that seemed like an important thing to do. It was hard, scary, dangerous and required lots of aid and drilling on lead (not by me), and would have (as is) resulted in a route that was very poorly suited to repeats. So, from that point, we went top down and focused on making quality routes. For instance, much of the wall is initially covered in loose potato chips, which make free climbing ground up extremely challenging (and not very fun), but scrubbing invariably reveals bomber edges, divots, and dishes pointing in wild directions to create interesting boulder problems. As far as protection -- if there's bomber gear, you place it; but if it's questionable we put in a bolt. You can expect sizeable (but safe) whips at cruxes, but will always have confidence in whatever you're whipping on (well, except in a few .10 ish bits), and everything should be both clippable for short folk while still protecting talk folks' ankles. Last year's route, "Milwaukee's Best" (MB, nine pitches, with two options for the last pitch), mostly tries to follow cracks on the left side of the wall, and is sustained at .11 to .12, with one pitch of .9 and one of .10. The two easier pitches are meh (easy .9 slab, somewhat fragile .10 cracks), but every other pitch is really good. This year, we had figured out that the climbing is often better if you avoid the big, obvious crack systems, and "Heart of Diamond" (HoD) zig zags right up the middle of the wall. Of the seven pitches, one (p5, a leftward .12 ish traverse) is perhaps a bit forgettable, but every other pitch is extremely high quality, with sustained and varied movement. There's one or two pitches of .11, two or three of .13 (so I'm told -- I can mostly do the moves but do not send that hard), and the rest some flavor of .12. Also worth saying -- these are real YDS grades, not Washington grades -- for instance I had little input, since my diet of index and ungraded bouldering gyms, and weird body proportions, mean my opinion isn't very transferrable. Michal wrote up an excellent description on mountain project: https://www.mountainproject.com/area/123065053/storm-dome, so I'll just dump some photos here. Northeast face of Storm Dome: The NE aspect enforces the pleasure of relaxed mornings, during which you can explore the variety of shapes into which wood can burn. Maybe these holes were woodpecker homes: MB pitch 3 before the roof: MB pitch 3 at the roof: MB pitch 3 after the roof: MB pitch 7: MB pitch 8, before the groove peters out: MB pitch 8, right where the groove peters out: Through the roof on MB pitch 9a (right option): Starting rightward on HoD pitch 4: Continuing rightward on HoD pitch 4: Starting the journey on HoD pitch 6: Near the top of HoD pitch 6, hanging in a hueco: Immaculate, perfectly sculpted and oh-so-crucial dual pinches on HoD pitch 6: Topo for MB and HoD: Smokey sunrise from camp, which is a pika-filled meadow between the lake and the wall: Gear Notes: Light rack and draws (see MP link for details). Approach Notes: 7 miles, 2800ft, 4-5 hours in, 2-3 hours out, see MP link for details.
  2. 2 points
    Trip: North Cascades - Fisher Outpost High Route Trip Date: 09/25/2022 Trip Report: Wyatt and I enjoyed a wonderful fall day exploring the region around Outpost Peak and Fisher Pass! We ran down Bridge Creek and up towards Goode, before climbing up the long east ridge of Outpost Peak. There is actually an old decommissioned trail here and would love to learn more if anyone knows anything about it! Outpost has beautiful meadows and larches before some fun scrambling to top it off! It if wasn't for a 12 mile approach, this thing would be classic. We continued on down to Fisher Pass, over Spectacular ridge, Natal Basin, Meulefire-Arrival Col, and Silent Lakes, before rejoining the Easy Pass trail and heading on out. The Meulefire-Arrival Col was a little tricky and I think it could be challenging if you came from the other side, because the main gut on the west side of the col is total death choss. We instead ascended a pink gully just climber's right of it. Total came out to about 30 miles and 11k. What a stunning area! https://climberkyle.com/2022/09/25/fisher-outpost-high-route/ Gear Notes: Running shoes. Poles. Approach Notes: Down down down Bridge Creek.
  3. 2 points
    Trip: Mount Carrie - Smoot Direct Trip Date: 09/11/2022 Trip Report: Perhaps the only upside to shattering my thumb this spring is that I have been catching up on my Smoots this summer. In fact, I'm at 99 after an ascent of Carrie a few weeks ago with @cfire. With each peak, I'm pretty impressed with this list ( it is back in print!). Not many bad outings in the book and some are very, very good. This is one of them, not for any classic climbing but for jaw dropping views across the valley at the Olympus massif. And so you'd better like pictures of Olympus, because you're about to be assaulted. Given the long drive we did the trip over three reasonable days: Day 1 was up the Sol Duc to the High Divide (prepare for combat parking at the TH); Day 2 was out to Carrie and back; And Day 3 was finishing the High Divide West to the headwaters of the Bogachiel and back to the Sol Duc. Every day we saw bears out and about, fattening up on berries before the winter snows come. We also saw quite a few people doing the loop in a day (the Olympics version of the Enchantments thru hike?), since permits are hard to get. Despite that, this is a busy loop, lots of people everywhere but Carrie (we saw nobody on our ascent). But, as you'll see below, it is worth the hassle of planning ahead. The High Divide is about as Olympics as it gets! Heart Lake: Carrie in the smoke out there: Olympus! Summit views to the SE. No idea what most of these peaks are, but I know @olyclimber does!: We enjoyed watching the ravens on the summit. They were battling with each other and raptors that invaded "their" territory: Cumbre! Heading down, Hoh below: Carrie is choss pile on the right. Not as bad as it looks though! I lugged my tripod all the way in, but should have looked a bit more closely at the moon phase: The classic Sol Duc falls (I cropped out the crowds): The trusty Civic is still intact with beers inside! Gear Notes: Clothes, shoes, whiskey. Approach Notes: High Divide, clockwise
  4. 2 points
  5. 1 point
    Lowa Civetta plastic boots size 15. Very good condition. Great for snow climbs like Mt Rainier and ice climbing and snow shoeing. Very warm and comfortable. I wear size 15 shoes and these allow for extra insoles or socks. They could fit size 16 too without extra socks. I got them to go to Alaska and didn’t make it. I used them to climb Rainier and ice climb a few times in Montana. Text Scott in Olympia 360 556 5922 $95. Got big feet? I will make you a deal.
  6. 1 point
    @JasonG your tastes may be a bit too blue collar for me. This route might not have enough schwack for you. It does have a healthy amount of choss and sidehilling, which I specialize in.
  7. 1 point
    Looks amazing!! Funny, I just stumbled across Luke's report the other day and had it on my list to look into further...
  8. 1 point
    That looks like an amazing route! Impressive planning. Gotta put it on the list....for a multiday.
  9. 1 point
    hey just saw this. The glacier was definitely crevassed; I was happy to be roped up, but as it's late season and there was only the merest skiff of fresh snow, the crevasses was all easily seen and avoided.
  10. 1 point
    Atta Kid!!! Fitz Roy Winter Solo
  11. 1 point
    Trip: Olympic Peninsula - Mt. Olympus Standard Route Trip Date: 07/13/2022 Trip Report: On not summiting Mt. Olympus & other reflections My trip to Washington began with a deal: If I helped my parents stack some 200 hay bales in the loft of their barn, they would care for my dogs while I was out of town. So, not long after an uneventful nine-hour drive from North Carolina to Pennsylvania, I found myself in a spot I hadn’t occupied for at least a decade: sweating, itching, hay-fever-wheezing at the door of the hay loft hypnotized by the oppressive cranking and thumping of the ancient hay-grain elevator as it deposited bale after bale from the wagon below. Feeling excitement about the upcoming trip, I remarked to myself that I was pretty darn lucky—to be traveling at all, to be strong enough to take on both this labor and a mountaineering expedition, to be soon communing with an old growth rainforest—and as this feeling of gratitude welled up inside of me, I smiled at a Ram Dass quote that a teacher of mine shared a few weeks prior: if you think you are enlightened, go and spend a week with your family. In no time I was stretching my sore shoulders in the great silence of a job well done, anticipating a night of rest before an early morning flight to Seattle, and thinking that all things considered, I had done a pretty good job of meeting the anxieties of my mother with kindness and patience. As we approached the last of the barn chores for the evening, however, I would soon find that my task was far from complete. Hearing some thumping and sounds of exasperation from the hay loft, I discovered that my mother was upending each of the bales we’d just spent the afternoon neatly stacking—apparently, the bales were wound too tightly, hadn’t been dried enough, and were at risk for molding if we left them in the loft. So, cutting into the thin hours of the night, we pored over each bale, separating the wet from the dry ones, and ultimately loaded all 200 of them back onto the wagon below. After a hasty shower, 3AM found me headed to the airport grateful that I’d at least get some sleep on the plane. I begin this report with my absurd haybale story because it helps to introduce the unexpected nature of the lessons that this trip offered—the meeting of new and old selves, and the recontextualization of the people most important to me. Having spent the summer up to this point inundated with images and stories of my partner emilio’s wild forays into the mountains (see the trip reports from their climbs here & here) I didn’t quite know what to expect from a climb up Olympus, but knew that this experience would be life-changing. I hoped to remain open to the teachings of the landscape and set off with the slightly misguided but well-intentioned goal of being humbled by the mountain. On July 12, after a much-needed meal and rest at the home of our endlessly kind friends Adam & Monica, emilio and I entered the Hoh Rainforest. Never before had I experienced such a happy ecosystem—I was used to the sick soil of coal country back in northeast PA, accustomed to the spindly birch trees and mountain laurel that form a forlorn kind of beauty in an ecosystem struggling to recover from a long history of fracking and mining. While the Olympic peninsula certainly faces its own ecological challenges, I was floored by the weight and wisdom of the forest’s ferns, mosses, the enormous Douglas Fir and Red Cedar trees—and the clear blue waters of the Hoh! I remember saying to emilio, this is where water comes to forget the hard angles of pipes and plumbing. Needless to say, the ten-mile hike to Lewis Meadow on our first day in the park consisted of me repeating, each time with renewed wonder, “Wow, look at that tree!” By late afternoon we were winding through the hip-tall grasses of Lewis Meadow on our way to a spot by the river, where we cooked a delicious meal dehydrated at home by our (again, incredibly generous) friends Adam & Monica before resting up for the ‘big push’ the next day. Emilio cooking us some dinner along a bend in the Hoh a short walk from our campsite. On July 13, after a restorative sleep in our 2-person tent, emilio & I donned our headlamps and padded into four-in-the-morning gentle hiking. There are few transcendent experiences I savor more than listening to the birds begin to call in the morning—building from a solitary and irregular chirp to a cacophony of song as the sun lends shape to the darkness—and this morning was no different: soon the hesitant chirps of the Black-throated Gray Warbler gave way to the buzzing calls of the Varied Thrush and the deep, thrumming vibrations of the Sooty Grouse, which seemed to echo from every side of the trail as we hiked for the next five hours or so. A consistent thought that I had while hiking the entirety of the Hoh River trail was that this is a kind trail—just when the walking reached a sustained steepness and I began to feel tired, it would flatten out or turn downhill for a bit; just when I needed a rest or felt too nervous about the climb ahead, there’d be an opening in the trees revealing a breathtaking waterfall or glimpse of the surrounding mountains; always, the heavy bootpack of the many feet that crossed this trail before me were a comfort, and I felt like I was participating in some great collective project—the incredibly welcome features of the rope ladder and high bridge only contributed to the feeling that this is a kind trail indeed! One such stunning view along the Hoh River Trail. About six miles into our approach hike, just before the rope ladder, emilio and I were pulled out of our trail-walking hypnosis as we ran into the first party we’d seen that morning—what looked to be a pair of hikers getting an early start to views of the glacial moraine. As we exchanged friendly goodmornings and moved to pass them on the trail, one of the hikers spoke up, “Hey, I know you, you’re Emilio, right? You’re not starting this summit push from the parking lot again, are you?” Both of us were a bit too stunned to process how this hiker not only recognized emilio, but had also read the trip report from a month prior when emilio, Adam, and Monica had run an ultramarathon on this trail. Through a brief conversation, we learned that this man had fostered a lifelong love for with the Olympic range (climbing it many times from the 70’s to today) and after offering emilio sage advice to get their butt out of the way of the views once we reached the moraine, we shared goodbyes and continued on the trail. Emilio descending the rope ladder. We must have reached the moraine—the scramble down steep loose rock required to reach the glacier—at around 9AM. Time seemed to grind to a crawl even slower than the tiny steps I was taking on this slippery incline, but after a few falls and more than twice the time it took emilio to reach the glacier, I finally made it to the ice and to one of many firsts in this trip: my first time wearing crampons. I marveled at the same blue I had seen in the Hoh river here in the ice below my feet, at more snow than I had ever seen, at the incredibly breathtaking sight that is the blue glacier… it was all too overwhelming and certainly well worth the nerves that were already turning my knees to rubber. In an abundance of caution, emilio roped up with me and led me toward the boot-packed trail leading to Mt. Olympus. The beautiful Blue Glacier from the top of the moraine. If my slow going on the moraine was any indicator of my performance on the snow and ice, I wasn’t entirely aware—time held little meaning as I met each new phase of the climb with an increasingly intense chorus of feelings: awe, fear, excitement, euphoria, trepidation… this was really living! Reaching the snow dome was a welcome break from the uphill snow walking (and slipping on my part) and emilio and I shared a breathtaking moment of appreciation for the views—we were lucky enough with clear conditions to even catch a stunning glimpse of Mt. Rainier in the hazy blue distance. After passing a guided party on Crystal Pass, we reached the false summit and the real crux of the climb for me: a steep icy patch of downclimbing just before the true summit block. As with much of the other climbing leading to this point, emilio was incredibly patient with me, coaching me through the steps I could take to move through the terrain safely, and after probably the slowest moving I had done all day, I was able to meet emilio on the base of the summit block. With my nerves a bit fried, I attempted the final fourth-class scramble to the summit, but ultimately lost my nerve and remembered the intention I had set at the start of this trip—to remain humble and receptive to whatever teachings the mountain had in store for me. Although emilio offered to aid me up the rest of the climb, I made the difficult decision to instead rappel down from the ledge where I’d gotten stuck. I took some comfort in the idea that this experience constituted far more than just pushing to the top. After my first rappel ever, emilio scrambled to the summit to see the log and enjoy the views. And as I waited below, I realized that as much as this climb was certainly an exercise in humility for me, the main gift I received that day was a deeper understanding of emilio in the place where they belong most: the mountains. I am not a mountain person by any stretch of the imagination—I grew up in the hills of Pennsylvania which see peaks of the Poconos reaching, at their highest, around 1200 feet of elevation. I’d only been climbing for about a year at this point, and hadn’t ever seen mountains like those in Washington. Needless to say, I was delightfully out of my element in the time I spent on Mt. Olympus, a feeling which was only augmented by emilio’s incredible ease of movement in this landscape. Throughout the next five hours of joyful glissading back down to the glacier, mountain goat tip-toeing back up the moraine, and bounding downhill trail walking back to camp, I followed the light that practically beamed out of my partner in climbing and in life. Because of emilio I felt, in each stage of the trail, a secondhand sense of being very much at home in this impossible rainforest. The next day on our exit hike, the trail’s passing parties met us with kind conversation and questions about conditions of the mountain. The frequency of these interactions grew as the miles to the trailhead diminished, and I was struck by the singular way that our fellow hikers also recognized emilio as someone who really belongs to this place. One of my favorite writers, Carmen Maria Machado, opens her memoir with the idea that this type of writing is, at its core, about putting yourself and others into necessary context. Of course, this trip report is by no means a memoir, but it is a crystal of a memory that I hold precious because within the myriad lessons I was gifted by Mt. Olympus and the Hoh River trail, their overarching movement was in reintroducing me to someone I love dearly by placing them in necessary context. More than any individualistic urge to ‘find oneself’ or, in my case, to be ‘humbled’ by the mountain, the networks that we create in concert with other human and nonhuman beings are what really constitute the power of the natural landscape; thank you to emilio and the many mountain people like them who have matched the loving kindness of the Olympic range. Gear Notes: Ice Axe, trekking poles, crampons, backpack, Camelback, electrolytes, granola bars, & homemade backcountry meals. Approach Notes: Hoh River Trail, through the Blue Glacier & Crystal Pass
  12. 1 point
    Trip: Selkirks - Lionshead - Circle of Life 5.11b/c, C1 FA Trip Date: 08/08/2022 Trip Report: I just finished putting up a project I have been working for the last couple years. It is on the north face of Lionshead up in Selkirk mountains of northern ID. I first heard about the potential line years ago but wasn't climbing hard enough at the time. Then 2 years ago I started investigating and scrubbing it. Finally after many hours of scrubbing it came together this weekend. I do want to thank the numerous friends that I dragged up there who patiently belayed me and also spent hours cleaning and scrubbing the route. The climb is 5 pitches long and contains a lot of really good 5.10 and 5.11 crack climbing. There is 10 feet of pretty blank rock that earns the C1 rating. It is straight forward aiding on a cam and a couple of fixed nuts. For those inclined to try and free it, I would guess it goes at mid to hard 5.12?? So go get the FFA and let me know! The crux pitch would be a classic at most crags complete with really good 5.11 finger crack to some steep laybacking/hands. The descent is to rappel the route which helps make the route feel less committing, and anything in the 5.11 range can be pulled through (although that would be most of pitch 3!). Pitch 1 - 5.9 Pitch 2 - 5.10b Pitch 3 - 5.11b/c, C1 Pitch 4 - 5.10+ Pitch 5 - 5.11b I personally would say it is on par with the classics at WA Pass for quality of climbing although it contains a little more lichen due to lack of traffic currently. I would definitely recommend doing it. The north face of Lionshead in the evening light. The line is marked in red. Starting up pitch 1. Looking up the start of Pitch 2. Starting up the crux Pitch 3. Looking back down the top half of the crux pitch 3. Such good climbing!! Nearing the top of pitch 4. The crux 5.11 roof on pitch 5. Gear Notes: Doubles from .2 to #3 with triples in the .3 to .75 and a single #4. A single set of nuts (offsets more useful than regular). Also a .3/.4 and .4/.5 offset cam come in very handy. 2 ropes for the rappel. Approach Notes: Take the normal approach to Lionshead. The route is on the north face about 100 ft to the right of the route Lion Tamer.
  13. 1 point
    Trip: Mt. Temple North Face, Banff NP, Alberta - Greenwood/Locke Trip Date: 08/06/2022 Trip Report: I have really only written up one TR before and there doesn't seem to be whole lot of TR's on this route so I figured it would be fun/useful to write up some info on Evan's and my ascent of the Greenwood/Locke on the north face of Mt. Temple. Plus it is currently smokey in the mountains in Washington so there isn't a whole lot else to do. On July 16th, Evan and I embarked from Bellingham on a 3+ week climbing trip aiming to climb mountains in Canada. And that we did. After warming up on wet rock in Squamish, we moved to the Bugaboos and spent a week in the East Creek Basin, getting to climb the Beckey/Chouinard and All Along the Watchtower. We then drove to Banff in search of progressively more chossy rock. After spending some time in the Banff area getting used to the Canadian Rockies limestone and glacier ice, and climbing Mt. Fay, Yamnuska, limestone routes in Banff, and getting turned around on Mt. Athabasca from rock fall, we felt ready to try the Greenwood/Locke with impending colder conditions in the forecast. The day before we climbed the route, Evan and I hiked half of the approach to the north face of Mt. Temple from the Lake Annette TH to get a look at the face. We brought binoculars, and scoping the route was incredibly useful for our ascent the next day. A view of the face from our scouting mission. The approximate route we took from Lake Annette. On August 6, we left the trail head early in the morning to make sure we got through the "Dolphin" snow/ice gully's before the sun hit any aspect of the upper wall since there is significant rockfall hazard throughout these gully's low on the route. We climbed much of the Dolphin and several hundred feet of loose 4th and low 5th class rock steps before it got light out. Evan low on the Dolphin Lots of chossy low 4th-5th class steps. Evan climbing the final bit of AI2 up to the base of the "wet chimney pitch". The upper headwall looming above receiving the only bit of sun all day. There was a decent amount of rock fall as soon as the sun hit the upper headwall. Get here early! The "wet chimney" pitch directly above the snow/ice field in the center went at about M5. At the base of the chimney at the top of the final snow/ice field, we broke out the rope and began the "real" climbing. It was necessary to climb this pitch with crampons and tools. We then simuled a long pitch still in our mountain boots up to the big traverse left. The traverse was incredibly loose, and there were a couple fixed pins. We traversed the ledge for just under 200ft until the ledge went around a sharp corner and the wall above undercut right above the ledge. From here, we switched to rock shoes and climbed around 8 more long pitches to the top of the headwall. Evan on one of the early pitches off the long leftward ledge traverse. Many of these pitches were severely runout around 5.8, with several 5.10 pitches. Gear was tricky but usually there were ok cams, pins, and stoppers where it mattered. Nearing the "trickey slab" pitch One of the pitches that is supposedly the crux says to step right into a 10c crack. We found this pitch to be significantly easier and better protected than many of the other pitches on the route. The "ice hose" pitch was thankfully dry, and involved engaging climbing. Enjoying the exposure. A final long pitch of steep rock brought us up to the last ledge traverse and the top of the upper headwall. A chossy but easy traverse right brought us to the top of the wall. Great position! Psyched to be done with the scary climbing. Classic summit selfie. Some sort of fossil I found on the final ledge traverse. The route from the base of the first gully to the top of the upper headwall took us 14 hours. The route is very serious and engaging with significant loose rock. The harder pitches in general had better rock and enjoyable climbing. Gear Notes: We brought a single rack from #000 to #3 with doubles in .4 and .5, a small set of nuts, 1 LA, 2 KB's, 1 Bugaboo, an angle, and two screws. We didn't use the angle and only used 1 screw. We also could have ditched the doubles in .4 and .5 as there are only so many placements per pitch. We each took two technical tools, boots and crampons, rock shoes, and a piton hammer for the leader. Approach Notes: The approach is straightforward and mostly on a trail. Scoping the face the day before made finding our way up the scree and into the correct gully easy in the dark. The descent is also very straightforward. Once topped out, traverse a long scree field maintaining elevation, and then descend a trail on the SW ridge. We hiked to Moraine Lake and then hitchhiked back to our car at the Lake Annette TH.
  14. 1 point
    Just returned from Dorado Needle and Eldorado beautiful double feature at more relaxed pace. Also nice to spend some time with my friend tanstaafl Notes: Colder temps this last weekend with a thin layer of snow on top made for some easy travel on the glacier. There was no smoke, maybe the slightest haze the first day . No moat issues. Mr. Sharp-shinned brought up some friends there was three of them flying around Dorado Needle while we made our ascent. Final note is to self, need to get out more.
  15. 1 point
    Cool story and photos For those that don't remember, this is the route where Steve House fell 80 feet onto a ledge and probably would have died without a quick helicopter rescue.
  16. 1 point
    Trip: 3 days north of Snoqualmie - Thomson W Ridge, Huckleberry W Face, Alaska, Kendall Trip Date: 08/11/2022 Trip Report: Blue collar alpinism. I am many things, and as a climber, only a few (tree beautifier and occasional murderer, recently unmotivated pebble wrestler, occasional *blue*collar*alpinist, and mostly a steep cave sport choss wrangler), and recently all of those climbers inside my earthly shell have been tugging around the term blue collar alpinism. All that goes with it - lack of aesthetics, a sugar bowlful of chossy andesite, a bunch of unpleasant walking, rarely visited (or often visted) summits, frequently climbed (or never climbed) paths to those summits. Actually, this term has been bouncing around my head since more than a year ago, when @JasonG off-handedly awarded myself and Zach the 'blue collar award of the week' for some stupid romp up Guye. I read trip reports on this site for truly outstanding ascents and FA's in the NC's, where ice and snow and rock collide for national-park-worthy pictorial territory - like @waynesaid at some point recently the golden age of the Cascades is now. I spent a delightful 5 or so hours once reading through a collection of TRs that @Blake collected on his blog more than a decade ago, so many under the radar hard, cool, scary, cutting edge routes going up in corners of the range yet-undiscovered. But as I venture from the truck to explore even more deeply my corner of the range, the 3 forks of the Snoqualmie (a blue-collar river if there ever was one), and find hidden crags, secret swimming pools, a wealth of dramatic glacier-carved terrain, rarely visited peaks, goat carcasses, hard new bolting & scrubbing experiences.... I am reminded how Cascadian they truly are. Walking up the PCT and staring over to the basin to the north of Alta Mountain: how many people have ever been there? It doesn't go anywhere, only a 800 foot bushwhack from Gold Creek or a chossy traverse & descent from Alta would get you there. And now that I've visited the Wasatch and other such ranges, I'm eternally grateful that this backyard I happen to have is so damn crazy. The Wasatch is predictable, the Rockies are predictable, the Sierra is predictable, but the Cascades deliver stunning amounts of unclimbed ridges, faces, steep heather slopes... yall know what I'm trying to say here... even along the PCT as far south as Snoqualmie Pass. Blue collar alpinism, yes! But blue collar in the best sense of the word. The idea for such a trip had been floating around since last year between Zach and I, and he finally lured me out of World Wall and the Actual Cave to sack up and ride the trail to the choss wonderland that is Thomson, Huckleberry and their compatriots. As we began tromping, heavily laden, up the Commonwealth trail, I thought more about the blue-collar nature and where it would lead after this trip: more 'white collar' climbing at WA Pass? Forays into the North Cascades to test our finger pads? Getting ahead of myself, I thought. We made great time to Gravel Lake and hurriedly pitched camp at 11am. Part 1: The Blue? Our first thought was to Thomson, and off we went to pluck it, I with a rope, Zach with a rack, and no one (yet) with the shivers. Bumblebee Pass was a slog after 8ish miles of hiking but thoughts of water in the basin gave wings to our feet. Immediately, we wished we'd camped there instead..... Surprisingly pleasant talus kept us moving up to the base of the west ridge. Zach took the first pitch sliding up through some discontinuous corners. It wasn't here where this realization came (that was back at camp Day 2 with a joint), but the andesite we have at the crest in this part of the world is a Blessing in Disguise. Granite doesn't overhang the way this metamorphosed andesite does. Finding the safe and clean path through a maze of chossy andesite roofs (so good if bolted, if only...) is a Blue gift from the mountain gods. I wholly appreciated the challenge of P2, though a small challenge it was, getting to pull a roof even at the end! Zach led up to the base of the slab mid-route, which provided good picture opportunity. Knowing the hard part (hard? more like Blue) to be behind us I romped on up the slab and pranced happily toward a steeper bit of choss - too much prancing perhaps, Zach called up behind me 'are you gonna put a piece in?' Doubtless it wouldn't hold, but that isn't sad, it is Blue, and a challenge to be appreciated. The belay ledge had a detatched block I threw two cams in and tried not to weight as Zach ran up to the false summit. Once in the notch, a further fun (Blue) pitch brought us to the final summit. A text was sent to let my sport-choss-wrangling buddies know that we weren't swallowed by the Blue just yet. The descent was straightforward, some raps, an inappropriately timed coiling of the rope, an inappropriately timed uncoiling of the rope, another rap, an appropriately timed coiling of the rope, and some marmot-like gamboling across the talus during which I decided I didn't want to hear anything for the rest of the trip that wasn't about marmots. Zach responded with 'a sizeable middle finger approaches.' Back to camp, swallowed food, water pumped, and the great chase of Sleep began as the Blue faded, and gave way to the Collar. Part 2: The Collar? I awoke to a chorus (that I neither heard nor heeded, but which was there all the same....): The Blue has been summitted and the Collar rises in your horizon to provide a test for the ages. Breakfast was eaten and a start was made at 7:30. (No indeed, an alpine start it was not...) Along the PCT heading north we made a simultaneous impulse decision to scramble the clean white granite ridge of Alaska Mtn. A pure joy to bring us back to reality: humans don't belong in the Andesite Choss World, and we tread there lightly and quickly. Back down the ridge we went and along to the west side of Joe Lake, where a decision was to be made. Toppling Tower sits on the ridge to the north of Edds Lake, which sits below the northeast side of Thomson and about 900 feet below the PCT. We had the thought of combining its summit with Huckleberry, that day, but peering over the ridge at the bushwhacking, and elevation, and talus, and then the climb, then the talus, the elevation, and the bushwhacking we'd have to do.... Huckleberry seemed a much more certain objective for the day, and less painful! What can I say... we're only human. (Certainty? Lack of Pain? Did the Collar win, so early in the day? Not so... a branch of the Collar provided a sunburst of humility we walked through with grace, leaving the true mountain to climb... being the true mountain itself.) So on to Huckleberry! I'd vaguely read this TR on the west face of Huckleberry being a more pleasant option than the classic east ridge. It was also closer to us, and I hate hiking. We dropped off the PCT in a nice meadow, leaving my pack for the return journey, as I took up the rope yet again. (And still, no shivers....) After a short detour where we realized we had no water and I returned to the pack for the filter so as not to raw dog dirty swamp puddle filth, we began up another talus field to a short 3rd class step, then delightfully into the shade, and not so delightfully into the mosquitoes. Bug Boy, we call him. I'd forgotten much about the TR except the pitch description, so we started, as directed, left of a large loose chimney. When Zach was halfway up the pitch, I started simuling to escape the mosquitoes, which were horrendous. It hurts to call them Collarful; too soon, they were simply horrendous. What was Collarful was the first pitches: vertical to overhanging tree and moss climbing up about 250 feet to a big ledge. At this point the Collar was upon us, and Zach and I were certain to be off route. I scouted the upper headwall for something that would go; there were cracks I was confident I could climb, but where would they lead me? Not to anywhere I could rappel from if necessary. Eventually, I traversed the ledge (and perhaps the Collar as well) to find exactly where we needed to be, at the base of a fourth class ramp. I lead and brought Zach up to below the final pitch, 2 small steep dihedrals cutting up to the summit. Now it was time for my superior rock skills to shine. While still folded in the Collar we may be, I saw the light on the outside and had only to claw my way skyward. I began up a dihedral placing on the left and the right. Standing in a stem for what must have been 10 minutes, I cleared dirt from a crack to place my first bomber piece of the day, a #1 in a well-attached big slab/block. With this confidence, I put my knee in my armpit, my right forearm on dirt, and mantled hard. Now I was standing on heather. The last dihedral looked BIG, and detatched, and overhanging, but not dirty. I bumped a #2 up the nice hand crack until the final moves. It was clear I could pull up and over, but how attached was the block above me? (The Collar had been flicked closed, and I was losing sight of the light...) The other option was a high step, roof pull, and mantle to the left. I extended the #2 and reajusted the placement to hopefully hold a fall. A cackle arose in my throat, remembering the adage about the Mox Peaks: 'If you don't like where the hold is, just pick it up and move it to where you do!' I warned Zach and started pulling holds of the ledge I was to mantle on, scrubbed some lichen off a foothold, and committed to the move. Rubber met the road, chalked fingers met welcome jugs, and I was on the summit. The descent was an adventure involving poor rappel anchors, limited tat, breaking old tat with my hands, and downclimbing 800 feet of scree. But by that point we were out of the Collar, and almost on to the Alpinism. (Or, from here on, the Alpinist.) Part 3: The Alpinist If there's one lesson we might've learned from the movie, was it 'know when to stop?' No, it wasn't, that kind of oversimplification does poor justice to LeClerc's memory, but it's the lesson I'm choosing to drag out and apply here. We could have gone on to Toppling Tower the next day; I'm not sure what was in Zach's head, but he clearly wanted it, and so did I. A rarely visited summit with many unknowns and challenging climbing? Of course we selfishly desired to have said we'd done it. The glory of such a climb is fleeting at best and nonexistent at the real state. But the lessons we'd internalized (never verbalized until now) through the Blue and the Collar were clear, when doing our little corner/pitiful imitation of blue-collar Cascades alpinism, know our limits. It wasn't the tower that would stop us in our tracks. Dropping over Bumblebee Pass and 1200 feet down to the lake, around the bushwhack of Edds, up to Toppling Tower itself, doing a climb, getting off some way or another (20 year old rap anchors?) then all that back again, then down the PCT 8 miles.... we simply weren't fast enough at navigating such blue collar Cascadian terrain. Such was the decision we tentatively made before we even went up Huckleberry. The ascent of the Berry Mountain confirmed it even more (the 3 hour descent) and when we awoke to mist and fog, we didn't even have to discuss plans. We ate, packed up, and headed homeward. A scramble up Kendall (which neither of us had enjoyed before) took some of the sting out of it, but there was no sting, really; 4 summits in 3 days plus 28-ish miles of travel is nothing to sneeze at for us at least. Thus ended the trip of the PCTfor Zach and I; we must have passed 130 people on the Saturday morning way out (big yikes...) Shakes at the Dairy Freeze, shower, and a long period of photo organizing and trip report writing, and here we are. If you read all that, thanks, it was essentially a very long way to justify posting this TR at all on what is increasingly a Cascadian all-star roster, so if you enjoyed this truly blue-collar trip report (if maybe not a blue collar trip? although I quite seriously tried to convince you it was), you're welcome. Anyone been up Toppling Tower recently? How was it? As I discovered 35 minutes ago, we did go the correct way up the west face of Huckleberry. Anyone else repeat that route in the last two decades? What was your experience? I think @Kuckuzka1 did a route on the south face maybe? How did that stack up? Gear Notes: we kept it pretty fuckin light Approach Notes: feet
  17. 1 point
    Trip: Whitehorse Mountain - Northwest Shoulder Trip Date: 06/25/2022 Trip Report: Four of us climbed this standard route on a sunny day in late June. After many years of passing by the mountain on the way to Darrington slabs, wondering when I'd get on it, it was a relief to stand on the summit. Mark and I started the hike at 6:30am, Kellie and Russ a little later, and returned to the cars at midnight. The snow was firm enough for good footing, and the moat was unexpectedly easy to cross. Our 30m rope was just enough to cover the summit rock climb. My thanks go to Mark, Kellie, and Russ for their competence and conviviality. Traversing to the High Pass The short rappel into the moat The spacious confines of the moat Looking back down the glacier to High Pass Out on the planet Gear Notes: Two 30m ropes, a medium nut and a green Camalot Approach Notes: Straight forward, nothing much to add.
  18. 1 point
    Trip: North Hozomeen Mtn - Zorro Face, IV 5.9 Date: 8/31/2013 Trip Report: “squamish?” Written at the end of a planning email for Hozomeen which addressed some nagging details, this would become our refrain throughout the trip. Labor Day offered a nice climbing window, and our list of objectives included just plain ol’ good times at Squamish, which typically promises immediate rock, clean rock, solid rock, protectable rock—all conspicuously (or suspected) absent at our objective. Most likely, many of you are aware of the opening passage in Jack Kerouac’s Desolation Angels: “Hozomeen, Hozomeen, most beautiful mountain I ever seen, like a tiger sometimes with stripes, sunwashed rills and shadow crags wriggling lines in the Bright Daylight, vertical furrows and bumps and Boo! crevasses, boom, sheer magnificent Prudential mountain, nobody’s even heard of it, and it’s only 8,000 feet high, but what a horror when I first saw that void the first night of my staying on Desolation Peak waking up from deep fogs of 20 hours to a starlit night suddenly loomed by Hozomeen with his two sharp points, right in my window black – the Void, every time I’d think of the Void I’d see Hozomeen and understand – Over 70 days I had to stare at it.” Later in the novel: “The void is not disturbed by any kind of ups or downs, my God look at Hozomeen, is he worried or tearful?... Why should I choose to be bitter or sweet, he does neither? – Why cant I be like Hozomeen and O Platitude O hoary old platitude of the bourgeois mind ‘take life as it comes’…” “take life as it comes” indeed. This is a useful mantra when approaching the west face. We had suspected an approach from the N down a gully would grant us access—Colin Haley’s blog post seemed to confirm this suspicion. However, this approach is nontrivial; the initial gully third-class down-climb, while loose, and dangerous, pales next to the shenanigans required to cross several precipitous ribs to our targeted launch point. A slip at any point spells an unpleasant end in the valley a couple thousand below. The approach took us a tedious and painstaking 4.5 hours (this after a first day of humping heavy loads 11+ miles to a camp just N of the peak.) Camp in that basin; S and N Hozomeen left to right, with the west (Zorro) face mostly out of view; some of its northern margin on the right skyline. Our approach continues down (out of view) from the furthest notch on right. Views during approach included the Picket range. Approach soloing; downclimbing skills or funeral bills. squamish? “take life as it comes”, also a useful mantra when trying to piece together leads up loose, sometimes friable and/or vegetated and/or wet, mostly welded shut (read: sparsely protected) metamorphosed basalt. The stuff is also called Hozomeen chert and was valued by the Salish for making knives and arrowheads. Hozomeen apparently is native Salish for "sharp, like a sharp knife." Looking up at much of our (foreshortened) route, which tends left to the central summit in this pic. Finally at the base, we decided to take it one pitch at a time, figuring we would try to retain the option to bail. squamish? Rock, paper, scissors, Rolf wins first lead this time. End of rope. I follow and gain an appreciation for the climbing challenges this Hozomeen chert will proffer; sparse pro and selective handholds will be the order of the day. I lead up a second long pitch to the only evidence of human visitation: a ¼ inch bolt and a bail ‘biner. Someone came, saw, and turned around; foreboding. (We did not see any other indication of passage higher than this.) After a couple pitches of metamorphosed basalt, we were talking about turning around too. But we could see trees on ledges above, and figured we could still bail in a relatively safe and reasonable manner. squamish? The land of milk and honey beckoned us. The third pitch required an exposed step-around with muddied feet; expletives drifted down to my belay. No pics. My pitch 4 went steeply up to a ledge, and traversed left; we were somehow making our way, and could still bail. Rolf’s face at the pitch 4 transition betrays some of our uncertainty. During his pitch 5 lead, some curses and words in the wind, “I wanna go home”. It was probably just the wind; he would’ve said simply, “squamish?” I’d like to forget pitch 6. I was forced up a steep 5.9 corner/arête with a paucity of gear. And what few pieces there were went into mungy and rotten fissures. Loose rock abounded, and without gear, there was no way to constrain the ropes from sending it down. Rolf didn’t get hit, but reported that he dutifully tied knots below his brake hand in case he was knocked out—so sensitive to my needs. I grunted up to a fat ledge, and Rolf managed to follow without getting shelled. Then Rolf drew one of the plum pitches, the seventh. 5.9+, climbs a nice corner (but with a section of unavoidable decking potential), then a tricky traverse to another corner, up and then traverse again to the only belay opportunity. Again, only so much gear and rope management was possible; missiles flew by my safe belay spot, but a few also threatened while climbing—somehow, no carnage. This wouldn’t happen in … Rolf up the p7 corner. Hand jams!?! Pitch 8 had a couple steep sections. Here Rolf discerns which holds to clean and/or trust. Pitches 9 and 10 stretched the ropes, continuing up the “corner” system we had identified as a weakness. More 5.9 (mostly easier) runouts. At the belay at top of pitch 10 I placed the only iron we used, a crappy pin to back up a solid piece and a marginal piece. For pitch 11, Rolf raced the sunset to a ledge. Uncharacteristically, this pitch didn’t stretch the rope; he thought we should take the bivouac bird in hand. I thought we were close to the summit and could possibly manage to climb to the top in the twilight-soon-to-be-night. He pointed out that idea was risky, and his logic prevailed. In retrospect it was definitely the right move. “take life as it comes”, also useful for shivering through the beautiful folly of an exposed bivy on a sloping ledge one nasty pitch from the summit. We’d brought some warm clothes but could have been warmer. All in all, the bivy wasn’t so bad, and definitely not as miserable as our unplanned bivy on Lemolo Mox across the way. Hozomeen wasn’t done with us. In the morning, I put together a long and winding pitch on some of the worst rock and pro conditions on the face—one strong cup of coffee, scary to the last drop. But it got us to the summit ridge! Unfortunately, the only spot to belay again made rope-disturbing rubble unavoidable. On the finishing moves, Rolf got clocked right in the helmet with a softball-sized rock, but was ok. Shudder. Top of our climb, just North of the summit, shortly after getting rocked. Glad to have done it. Another Scurlock masterpiece. Our route makes its way up to the left-facing corners directly below the summit. Our bivy occurred on the relatively large snow patch right below the summit. In the background is the Southwest Buttress, climbed many years ago by some hardcores. Kerouac again: “And I will die, and you will die, and we all will die, and even the stars will fade out one after another in time.” But we won’t die on Hozomeen. Hopefully not in Squamish either. But I will climb again at the latter. Both Rolf and I have mildly obsessed over this face for years, and were gratified (gruntled, even) to execute our vision. I expected technical demands exceeding 5.9, but given the challenges of Hozomeen chert, was glad for the limit. Probably half the pitches had some 5.9 moves, depending on what you trust for holds. We stretched the rope for most of the 12 pitches of pure adventure. I am fortunate to have a teammate like the curmudgeon: rich in experience (old), strong (for his weight), solid (old), and somehow able to check my relentlessly positive delusions. Thanks hardcore. A couple summit shots: And more pics. BTW, we descended the North Face route, rested, ate and drank, packed up and marched to car. The mosquitoes for the last couple miles were some other $#!+. Gear Notes: Single set of nuts. Tricams up to hand size v useful. We took lots of small cams, but the doubles would actually be better in the mid-range. Approach Notes: Nontrivial. Day 1, due to tons of rain the day before, we elected to take the scenic Skyline trail instead of the steep bushwhack. Day 2, follow your nose and low sense of self-worth.
  19. 1 point
    David Whitelaw and I finished this new route on August 4. Jim Nelson was in attendance to take some photos, but did not climb it with us. The route is called Indentured Servant, and is located 100+ yards left of Tooth Fairy. It's a sport route of five pitches, all bolted, like this: P1 some sustained 5.10a, 12 bolts P2 5.7, 9 bolts P3 5.8, crossing a giant chockstone, 6 bolts, P4 5.10b, reachy stemming up a V-slot, 12 bolts P5 5.9, sustained .9 face climbing for over 30', 6 bolts We built it to climb and rappel with one 60m rope. For P1 we extend two of the clips with alpine draws to avoid drag (see photo). Rappel the route until P2, then drop straight down into the deep gully where there is a final anchor. The route finishes on the North ridge, so you can traverse right and up to the summit. One could also walk off the North Ridge route. All bolts are 3/8" SS wedge bolts. Belay/rappel anchors are either SS chain w/ ring or two bolts with rings. The first person to climb it besides David and me was Ken Ford, on Aug. 12. Then David's friend Kelsey Gray from AK joined us for a couple of days of exploration, and they climbed it together on Sept. 2, while I took a rest day in camp. Then I brought up Robin Taft for an outing of Tooth Fairy the first day, and this route the next, on Sept. 12-13. Here is Ken Ford finishing P1, showing how the rope takes a nice curve if bolts 6 and 7 are extended David W. has drawn one of his beautiful topos for this, but we won't publish until next year. One doesn't need a topo to climb it, however, just find the clean toe of white rock to the left of a major gully, and follow the hangers. Bill Enger
  20. 1 point
    Trip: Darrington - Squire Creek Wall -> Buckeye -> Whitehorse Trip Date: 06/19/2021 Trip Report: @jenny.abegg and I did a linkup of Skeena26 on Squire Creek Wall, Buckeye Peak, and Whitehorse. It was a full value 16 hour day, even with nearly everything going "right". Super fun, if you don't mind some jungling and adventure climbing. The MP approach beta for Skeena26 is spot on. We did not find the bolts until the top of P3, and from there on it was still hard to follow the route as the bolts hide in the shade. The upper section of the buttress above the route is pretty blue collar, as is the top of Squire Creek Wall. We were happy to be on snow climbing up to Buckeye Peak. The ridge heading north from Buckeye was very aesthetic, featuring mid fifth class climbing over steep gendarmes with wild exposure. We did a few pitches and a few rappels and then ended up at the SE Ridge of Whitehorse. The SE Ridge definitely felt a bit fifth class to us for a few hundred feet, but we were definitely pretty tired. It is "Beckey 4th class" after all. The rock is ok. Rappel over the bergschrund, then long hike out. https://climberkyle.com/2021/06/19/the-darrington-rodeo/ D-Town is cool! Skeena26 is definitely worth checking out! Gear Notes: Single 60 m rope was enough. A few moderate sized cams, lots of long runners. Approach Notes: About 6-8 minutes after the official Squire Creek Trail sign, there is a white rock cairn. This marks the trail, which leads down to Squire Creek. Found a log crossing just downstream. Then hike up the trail on the other side.
  21. 1 point
    Trip: Mount Index, North Peak - North Face Trip Date: 01/29/2021 Trip Report: @Michael Telstad and I have a wonderful climbing partnership. He sniffs out all the beta and nails down logistics, while I tell bad jokes and ensure the ropes get hopelessly tangled at least once on-route. When I heard about his FA on Chair and adventures in Mazama with @Doug_Hutchinson, in the throes of FOMO and inspired by Doug and Mik's report of 'cruiser alpine conditions', I sent him a text on Tuesday asking if he wanted to climb the North Face of North Index. Between the Scylla of the work-week and the Charybdis of storms for the next month, we decided on Friday as our best and only shot at the beast. Fortunately Doug was stuck with Michael on the long winter drive from Mazama to Seattle, so there was plenty of time to shake him down for beta. There is not too much information about the route out there, so Doug’s info was invaluable. (Another useful source is Jim Nelson’s Selected Climbs in the Cascades, Vol. 1) We decided to meet in the parking lot at 2:45am on Friday. After a few hours of fitful rest I rolled into the Lake Serene parking lot my traditional 15 minutes late at 3:00am (Michael was 10 minutes early). We exchanged groggy greetings and set off by moon and head light. Easy trail hiking in approach shoes to the north end of the lake led to the base of a slide path and some tedious steep snow climbing to the saddle of the northeast rib. (We changed into boots at the end of the trail before stepping onto the lake, and put on crampons partway up the snowfield) Some unexpected light snow gave us pause but we decided to climb until it became problematic. I set off on the first lead, simul-climbing ~3 pitches mainly steep snow with sparse slung trees, with a few short mixed steps protected by cams and nuts. I tried placing ice screws in aerated flows while extremely runout on steep snow, but they were just too marginal to bother. Runout snowfields for the first ~2 pitches took me to a left-leaning gully. At the top of the gully I looked down and gulped at the sheer exposure below me to the east. Wild. A moderate and short but annoyingly snow-covered mixed step took me to the slung blocks marking the ‘hidden ledge’ traverse. (It’s not very well-hidden if you’re looking for it.) I belayed Michael up from here since I would’ve liked a belay on the mixed step below and I believe in the golden rule. At this point I made the inconceivably foolish decision to try scooping up the stacked double ropes and walking them across the hidden ledge. I made it about 15 feet before realizing the error of my ways and setting up an intermediate anchor. Fortunately it only took 15 minutes of cursing and thrashing to untangle the ropes. Michael then belayed me on a short, fun, and confusing simul block through a slide alder grove. I followed my nose through a steep groove of alders to a lower-angle mixed ramp. I wandered around trying to find an easy way up, but eventually gave up and belayed Michael to the top of the alder grove. He decided to down-climb to search for a lower continuation of the traverse, but found only improbable cliffs. He climbed back up and cruised the mixed ramp around whose bushes I’d beaten earlier. We simuled over the ramp and up the awesome snowbowl pitch to an obvious large tree. From here we simuled up ~2 pitches of very fun AI3- (mediocre screws, great sticks) to yet another grove of trees at the base of yet another snowfield. I led a short snowfield to the base of the crux mixed pitches. Michael led us up two cruxy snow-covered mixed pitches, first a narrow ridge-traverse and then a funky slab to a short steep corner protected by a fixed piton. The climbing wasn’t so hard, but it felt tres insecure and poorly protected. I took over the lead and we simuled across a wild knife-edge ridge, up a snowfield, over and around several false summits (with some tricky mixed steps and brutal rope-drag), and finally to the base of the true summit. (From a distance I thought it was the Middle Peak of Index. ) Michael took us to the top, and we mustered the happiest faces we could for some summit pics. As we prepared to descend, a raven floated next to us cawing a blessing. I felt glad then, that the spirit of the mountain was with us. We thanked the raven and began the slog down. Michael led us back to the base of the summit ridge snowfield, and we followed Doug and Mik’s rappel stations for a seemingly interminable, mind-numbing descent. We finally reached a snowfield at the base of the north face. We unroped and contoured around to the base of the route. Unfortunately they added about 3 miles to the Lake Serene trail while we were on the mountain, so the hike out was a bit more tedious than expected. We finally arrived back to our cars alone in the parking lot at 11pm, just as we’d left them 20 hours and many lifetimes before. I grilled up a couple celebratory beyond burgers and we drove off into the night, grateful and dead exhausted. Many, many thanks to Doug and Mik for all the beta, and for setting up so many rap stations! This route is highly condition dependent. This winter and weather window has yielded easy snow climbing, thin and poorly protected but easily climbed gully ice, and snowy but manageable mixed climbing. I think significant time would be saved on the mixed pitches if there were no snow. Suitors should be prepared for sporting runouts on steep snow, tenuous mixed climbing, and a tricky descent after a long physically and mentally tiring day. Descent: Reverse climb along summit ridge to trees at base of the snowfield which leads up to summit ridge, i.e. just after the knife-edge ‘last pitch’ of the climb. Make 4-5 plumb-line rappels (60m double-rope) to large trees atop snow-bowl pitch. Rappel trending east (climber’s left) to small trees near base of snow-bowl. Continue for 5-6 raps along this slightly east trajectory, following shrub and block rap stations to base of the north face. Some of these are rope-stretchers with 60m ropes, 70m would help a lot. Once down contour easy but exposed snowfields to the east until reaching the saddle where the route begins. We mostly used Doug's webbing and carabiner stations, but added green tech cord to the station at the top of the snowbowl. Cut all the other tat there but unfortunately couldn't extract it from the ice. (it was late and we wanted to move fast) Lecture time: Knot both your ropes (and untie one end before you pull the other). Double-check your tether and rap setup every time before you commit your life to them. Pics: Setting sail, snowflakes like shooting stars Michael just after the first cruxy mixed step, taken from the hidden ledge blocks moments before the sun rose The sun also rises Michael heading up the gully at the top of the snowbowl Michael starting the first mixed ridge pitch with the false summit ahead Looking down at me from above first mixed ridge pitch Michael at the mixed crux Selfie from snowfield before summit ridge with Michael on the knife-edge False summit after false summit Moody Sky from summit Happy to be halfway home Classic pose on summit block (might not be there next year, the summit ridge seems to be mainly loose blocks glued together by ice) Index Traverse looking intimidating and appetizing Reversing the summit ridge traverse Possibly the worst rap anchor, but not by much Arriving at the large tree atop the snowbowl as headlights trace out Highway 2 below The result of bounce-testing the rap anchor at the large tree Rope stretcher with 60m ropes Dave Summers got a photo of our headlamps on the descent Gear Notes: Ropes: 2x 60m 7.5mm half/twins (70M recommended) Slings: 15 singles, 4 doubles, 1 quad. (good amount, but bringing more would allow for longer simul blocks. Had 2 carabiners per single sling and 1 per double and quad) Ice screws: 2x 10cm, 2x 13cm, 1x 16cm, (1x 22 for v-threads) (good selection, even though some placements were marginal due to conditions) Cams: single rack .1-2 (perfect, every cam was useful but didn't want any bigger) Nuts: About a dozen from small to large (didn't use too often but glad to have) Tricams: Pink and red (clutch) Pitons: selection of 3 small knifeblades, 1 short Lost Arrow, 1 beak (didn't place any, clipped one fixed pin) Cord/webbing: 20 foot 5mm tech cord useful for slinging large blocks. 40+ft of rap tat highly recommended Microtraxions: 2x for simul-climbing insurance Tools: Less aggressive quark style tools (Thanks to Michael's partner Tess for letting me borrow her quarks so I didn't have to haul the nomics up) Crampons: Dual point preferable, lots of snow Emergency gear: Inreach (+cell service most of the way up), lightweight emergency bivy sacks, small isobutane stove, hardwarmers and dry warm socks in case of epic. Climbing tape for in-situ surgery. We didn't bring any pickets and never wanted to place any, but if you desire protection on <60 degree snow you should bring one. Approach Notes: Took the Lake Serene Trail all the way up, skirted around on the NE shore of the frozen lake to the obvious slide path, ascended to saddle, stashed approach packs in small tree grove and racked up. ~1.5 hours car to base
  22. 1 point
    Trip: Davis Peak - South Ridge Date: 6/3/2017 Trip Report: Which peak in Washington has the largest vertical drop, within one horizontal mile of the summit? Before this weekend I would have guessed Slesse, J-burg, Goode, Hozomeen.....and I would have been wrong. Strangely enough, it's Davis Peak, a summit that Fred says "is seldom visited because of the very rugged approach and rocky flanks." One hundred and twelve years after the first ascent this still holds true, if the last few years are any indication (the historic register that went back many decades disappeared about 10 years ago, and was replaced in 2013). How seldom, one might wonder? About one party a year makes the trek. So that means that if you were thinking of going up this year, too bad, it's done for the season, Park Service is all out of permits. But for those going NEXT year, the one thing that you won't find in the Beckey guide is that a fire burned most of the south side of Davis in 2015. An impressive amount too- at least the bottom 3,000 vertical feet. This adds considerable enjoyment to the ascent, and perhaps a little danger if you believe in widowmakers. However, if you have an entertaining crew along as we did this past weekend, the minor challenges of the ascent actually serve as the punchlines to an otherwise lighthearted ramble up fire-scorched slabs. It's all so civilized. Gear Notes: Helmet, axe, crampons. The scramble is exposed 3rd/4th out of the notch, so a rope is your choice. We didn't bring one and it felt fine. Approach Notes: Fred has an accurate description. Prepare for shenanigans at all elevation bands. With generous stops and a summit nap it was about 10-11 hours RT.
  23. 1 point
    Trip: Mt Despair, N summit - NE ("Bipolar") Buttress, 3700+', 5.9 Date: 7/28/2014 Trip Report: Low. (Our first glimpse of the double buttress from banks of Goodell Cr.) High. (Rolf climbs the final snow arête of the N Ridge to the N summit of Mt Despair. The highpoint of the NE Buttress is barely in view on right. Pickets background.) Route summary: the NE Buttress (“Bipolar Buttress”) of Mt Despair, ~3700’ net vertical relief of climbing and scrambling; a few hundred more are climbed thanks to multiple rappels into notches along the way. Difficulties up to 5.9. (Rolf nailed the name.) I think we belayed a total of 9 pitches, 8 on the buttress and 1 to attain the N ridge? This shot taken from the southeast shows the NE Buttress toeing down into Goodell Cr. Photo courtesy of John Roper, taken from the Roost. We began climbing at the base of the big open book in the area of lighter rock on the lower buttress. The feature can also be seen in the background of this shot taken from Mt Terror last summer: And here: Trip summary: a delightful tour of Picket-ness proportions; we approached via Goodell Creek, climbed Mt Despair via the soaring NE Buttress/N Ridge continuation, descended Despair’s west flank, and ultimately exited via Triumph Pass and Thornton Lakes trail to a bike, where the lucky loser of roshambo commenced the 8ish mile ride to retrieve the car. Lots of ups and downs. (On a map, this looks like a reasonable horseshoe route. Plan for three demanding days.) More-enterprising types might more fully express this route by traversing from the N to the S summit, thence to Triumph Pass and home; we left this for future work due to budget constraints of calories and time. A good thing too, as I botched the de-proach; in a monomaniacal fit of hubris, neglected to thoroughly research the route from Triumph Pass to the Thornton Cr trailhead, instead relying on simply a map and odd recollections. As a result, deep into the third day, we achieved new psychological limits by rat-schwacking up a 600+ vf stretch of steep, dense brush. My bad, brah. A soi-disant Cascades dignitary pronounced this a Last, Last Great Problem of the Cascades, while the other side of same mouth pronounced it “table scraps”. The Bipolar Buttress is more akin to eating a spilled gourmet meal off the floor, tasty if a little dirty--the floor in this case is the Goodell Creek valley. The NWMJ notes Roger Jung used Goodell to score FWAs on Mt Fury, but my contacts with real Cascades dignitaries yielded little info re: optimal access in the brushy summer. Sundry, pleasant surprises await those who in future travel this way. Route description/photo blast: Scrambling the lower buttress. Around 1300’ of mostly solid and well-featured scrambling up to low fifth class. Chimney moves to finish the lower buttress difficulties. From top of lower buttress, we rappelled into a notch; a party could bail from here at relatively low cost. Beyond this point, costs increase. Rolf leading out of a notch after a rappel. A very deep cleft in the upper buttress weighed on our psyches during the whole climb; the most technical pitches had occurred climbing out of smaller notches after rappelling into them. This deeper cleft can be seen in Tom Sjolseth’s picture from the N. Only the upper buttress is visible here, extending left—the cleft is near the summit of the buttress. With apologies to Jimi Hendrix, this is the Manic Depression. New lows were hit upon closer viewing of the chasm. The wall we needed to climb appeared very steep, overhanging in places, and meager viable lines looked difficult to access. We rapped in and scoped around, finally settling on a route beginning maybe 50’ to the south of the notch: a right-trending stair-step ramp kept the climbing at a reasonable grade. Watch for loose rock here. Rolf led the first pitch, and I got the leftovers; a bunch more rambling (an exposed stretch felt like the TFT) and we found a dee-luuuuxe bivy site on heather near the high col, where the two E-side glaciers meet. Views into the Pickets were available all day, and made even more enjoyable by respite. Smoke filtering in from eastern Washington provided color. Mr Bo Jangles S Pickets N Pickets The next morning we crossed the high col, climbed a 70m pitch of rock to attain the N Ridge, and then continued on its final snow arête. This pic shows the upper buttress (blocks view of lower buttress) on the right, with Goodell Cr far below. Descent was made by downclimbing to the notch S of the N summit, then down the W side of the peak; one rappel required. Demanding tour, but rewards with sweeping views and ambiance. Bunch more photos here: https://picasaweb.google.com/ewehrly/2014_07_28MtDespairNEBipolarButtress?authuser=0&feat=directlink [Might add or swap out some photos upon receipt of Rolf’s.] Gear Notes: Medium rack with several pins, but never used them. Axe/crampons. Lithium. Single 70m rope. Approach Notes: See above.
  24. 1 point
    Trip: Southern Pickets - East Ridge Inspiration and West Ridge MacMillan Date: 7/7/2010 Trip Report: Tim (therunningdog) and I headed into the Southern Pickets for some classic bushwacking fun. A alpine start out of Seattle got us to the trailhead (with permit yo!) at 3pm. Camp under point 6484 gave views of the rad high pressure that we're still loving. We forgot booze to help us sleep but Tim brought his radio so we tuned into some Cure from Victoria's classic rock station! Couldn't get the world cup news we were looking for tho! Next day took us over to the creek where we dropped sleeping gear and food and headed off from Inspiration (East Ridge). We planned to do the gendarme traverse from the West Mac col to the base of the East ridge thanks to Mario's (who was in camp!) printoff from Wayne's website. Got to the col in ok time. I hadn't been up West Mac, so I scurried up there while Tim did some classic Jstern alpine napping. Tim stoked that we're leaving camp so early! Inspiration and West Mac (and Pyramid) Kicking steps in some fine mushy snow Me on summit of West Mac Tim ready to wrestle mid way on the gendarme traverse We made it over to the E ridge proper in a few hours (yeah, we had the odd routing finding issue... who would have thunk!). Tim got the layback pitch! Fun, but definitely less fun with heavy packs. Why did we bring crampons? Tim sending the layback pretty damn efficiently I took the left crack on the upper crack pitch and without a number 3, I was running it out a wee bit. Regardless, the pitch was great fun and then we were on to the summit and towards to the raps down the West Ridge. BTW - the raps stations are way better than we anticipated. Good webbing, biners or rings!! Thanks to those who keep these in good condition! Tim getting his crack on. Tim wishing he was down in McMillan Creek instead of way up here Heading up to the summit Again, another dorky summit shot for me. Shooter McGavin? Frank the Tank? We made it back to camp just after Seth and Keith's return from their traverse of all the MacMillan spires! Nice job boys! We were stoked to get into camp and crash. Seth, Mario and Sandy (Keith just out of the shot) in camp. It was great to share stories with this fine group of alpinists! Combined, they've got a ton of Pickets experience!! On the way out we planned to "just run over and tag Davis Peak". What a shit show... temps were well into the high 70s or mid 80s and the traverse over to Davis is farther than it looked. In the end, we were cut off by a huge gully from even getting up this bastard. We got some more conditioning in I suppose... If you know the area, this photo shows the distance to Davis. First, cross those two "little humps" on the ridge ridght of point 6484, then cross plenty of ups and downs on the way over to Davis. A huge gully cuts the final ridge scramble. Is there a way to bypass this gully??? Gully cutting off ridge access to Davis (not the best photo) We didn't get much closer to Davis than this after all that work in the intense heat and crappy snow conditions Gear Notes: Used a single rope for gendarme/E ridge. Rack was doubles of smaller stuff and two of each 1 and 2 Camelot. Could have used a 3 since we did the left crack. Crampons were not needed but happily carried all the way up and down! Good food in Marblemount is open till 9pm... there is a God!!
  25. 1 point
    Trip: NF Colonial Peak - FA: "First Date" Gr.IV AI3/M3 Date: 2/21/2010 Trip Report: On Saturday Beau (pronounced "bow") Carillo and I (Geoff Cecil) headed up to the North Cascades to climb something on Colonial Peak. We had a few things we were very interested to climb. The trip came to together with the help of Wayne and a helmet that he let me borrow. Then I left it in the backseat of my car. I guess I'll climb something on the NF of Colonial without a helmet? The approach was too...awesome. We had an open bivy below the face. It was cold. Woke up to a perfect bluebird day! What were we going to do? Not Watusi Rodeo. My head would've turned into a smashed grapefruit on an ice route. So, we just started climbing straight up from our bivy site. We encountered alpine ice 3 for a few sections down low along with some steep (70-75) degree snow climbing. Got up into the unclimbed couloir. 60 degree snow which turned into some short AI3 sections along with some mixed climbing up top. We simul-soloed the whole route but brought a rope, ice and rock rack. Speed was our ally as I had no head gear and was paranoid of things melting and falling down on my head. We pushed hard to the summit and ran down and grabbed our packs and started the schwack/falling down over logs back to the car. A great route, beautiful day, and a great climbing partner! Thanks Wayne! Gear Notes: Tools, bivy gear, crampons. Approach Notes: Colonial Creek
  26. 1 point
    Trip: Whitehorse Peak - Parade Route Date: 4/26/2008 Trip Report: Took a couple of office friends along on an early-season slog to the top of Whitehorse during Saturday's rare break in the Northwest gloom. This shot from the Shell station, taken after we'd descended and were having coffee, shows the entire route. After a brief 'shwack through the shortish approach, we basically hugged the cliffs along the right side of the main slopes in the center of the frame. Half an hour after snapping this shot, we were contentedly scarfing Mex' and chaining Dos Equis in Marysville--nice day in the hills. The main 'schrund, which can be a formidable barrier in late season, is currently so filled-in it's a jog! This mountain is holding a major snowpack right now, and even with the snowshoes, we were punching pretty deep. Snow stayed soft all the way up. Alex [black shell], charging up the mountain's upper slopes. Out for only his second climb ever, the 20-something made short work of the 6600-ft. gain. ...watch this space...potential mountain monster! Kudos also go to office mate Tommy who, despite having forgotten to bring snowshoes, still somehow managed to swim to the summit without shaving a second off the group's sub-5-hour ascent! Pretty but interminable trudge... Preparing to finish it off. The final climb to the summit ridge ramped up a bit, but the snow was so friendly that the 'pons never came off the packs. Topping out in deepish but nnicely firm powder.... Tommy, nearing the summit, with a parade of two-plankers strung out below. My summit shots were crap, but the views were v-e-r-y nice! EJohnson, enjoying a leisurely, picturesque drop... Gear Notes: snowshoes, boots, 'pons [never used], sticks, axe, snax, WATER! Approach Notes: After doing this one a few times in years past, we've figured out a pretty quick path through the nastiness down below. Snow is currently deep, soft, and a tad annoying, but this makes for a screaming fast drop--win some, lose some....s'all good.
  27. 0 points
    Thanks Jon for the beta. Respect for soloing that glacier; that would have made me nervous. We went in loaded up for the SW Buttress but it was so dang cold on Saturday night that we opted for Maximum Enjoyment and did the NW Ridge instead. Never have I had such a lackadaisical alpine day; we left camp at 10 AM! This turned out to be perfect as we were in the sun all day except for a few minutes in the notch. Even so I was wearing two jackets on the whole climb. Summer's over. Note: while we were out, some tweaker broke into all the vehicles at the Eldorado trailhead and apparently was siphoning gas from them—all had gas caps off. The climbing rangers came up while we were at Eldo camp and let us know that Ken's was the only vehicle without a window broken; possibly because his gas cap didn't lock. Evidently this has been happening quite a bit at Eldorado, Boston Basin, and Thornton Lakes trailheads. Be warned.